The effect of hormone replacement therapy on cognitive function in post-menopausal women

QJM. 2007 Sep;100(9):567-73. doi: 10.1093/qjmed/hcm065. Epub 2007 Jul 30.


Background: Despite interest in causes of dementia in older persons, particularly in post-menopausal women, it is unclear whether hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a risk factor.

Aim: To assess cognitive function in post-menopausal women with high educational status receiving HRT, compared to non-users.

Design: Cognitive functioning was assessed with in women aged 55-60 years with at least university-level education, using the Mindstreams system, a computerized cognitive battery with multiple domains.

Results: Of 165 women meeting the inclusion/exclusion criteria, 82 women (49.7%) declined participation. Of the remaining 83, 40 (48.2%) had never received HRT; the remainder was divided into women receiving 5-9 years HRT (n = 29)versus those with >or=10 years HRT (n = 11). There were no statistically significant differences between HRT users and non-users in global scores or sub-domains of cognitive functioning, and no difference between those women receiving HRT for 5-9 years vs. >or=10 years.

Discussions: Long-term HRT does not appear to impair cognitive functioning in highly-educated women. Recommendations regarding post-menopausal HRT should be made on an individual basis.

MeSH terms

  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Educational Status
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychomotor Performance*